KEEPING LIFE BUZZING ALONGChris Brown
Bees are big pollinators, carrying and dropping off the pollen to keep Mother Nature chugging along. But recently there has been a dangerous decline in the bee population, primarily due to the loss of habitat and the use of harmful chemicals in pesticides, including neonicotinoids. Last month the EU ban of non neonicotinoids was announced; from 2019 neonicotinoids will not be used in pesticides on outdoor crops. Here at Capital Gardens we have always been committed to be sustainable and organic practices and therefor we are thrilled with the news – it is just one of the bee related topics we’ll be celebrating on the 20th May…
Come and join us at Alexandra Palace Garden Centre on Sunday 20th May, where we’ll be celebrating World Bee Day wit the North London Beekeepers. The antics will begin at 11am, so have your lie in then saunter over to hangout at the hives, roll yourselves a wax candle, play ‘Spot the Queen bee’ and generally get to know your honey from your bumble; for the little’uns we’ve even got the beekeeping suits at the ready; not forgetting the flowers and the food, in the Glasshouse Café our chefs hve knocked up a honey themed spread, including cakes (of course!) and salads. We’ve put together a range of the best bee-friendly plants – won’t ‘sting’ your purse strings; together with North London Beekeepers we’ll be on hand to help you make your own urban haven for bees, whether you’re filling the window box or sowing your wildflower meadow.
Until then, here are some of our suggestions to get you getting bee…
Five plants for bringing in the bees
You’ll certainly hear a buzz around those lilting lilac blooms as that warm, undeniable scent hits you – perfect for pots and window boxes if you haven’t got a garden.
Great for the beginner grower, sow outdoors now and watch their frothy leaves unfurl before this generous bloomer gives you bright, wide flowerheads right through till the autumn
The ‘ornamental sage’, one of the most delicate looking of the bee-friendly bunch, you’ll find salvia in all sorts of colours and heights, Salvia looks a treat in borders, courtyards and pots.
The ‘coneflower’, with its bright pink nodding heads, flowering in late summer Echinacea adds excitement when other elements of the garden are settling down, their dried seed heads provide food for birds and add structure in the winter.
This leggy perennial cam reach up to two meters high as it offers up those intricate clusters of tiny purple flowers. Well suited to prairie planting and gravel gardens, like the Echinacea, verbena adds structure and beauty to the winter garden.
…You’ll find all of these at our ‘World Bee Day event’; we’ll be on hand to help with your planting ideas and to offer advice on plant care for when you get them home.
5 Bee-Friendly Pesticide Alternatives
As well as planting right, we’ve really got to look at responsible pest control, here’s a few techniques and organic alternatives we use and think you should try.
1: CHECKING A LITTLE MORE OFTEN…
Just having a stroll about your garden with a cup of tea- or a wine once a day will help you spot those slugs on your hostas and the greenfly on that rosebud, allowing you to pick or snip off the pests and fling them out of harms way.
2: PYRETHRUM FERRIC PHOSPHATE
Pyrethrum is most effective at the egg and Iarval stages of the pest, you can buy ready mixes of pyrethrum in sprays; ferric phosphate is sold as pellets and is effective against slugs and snails – Although these are organic, don’t get carried away! We still advise chemicals should only be used as a last resort.
3: COMPANION PLANTING
It even sounds friendly, ‘companion planting’ just means using a plant to repel a pet; for instance, try planting onions next to your carrots to keep carrot fly’s away.
Nematodes are a form of ‘biological control’ and are commonly used in organic gardening. The nematodes, or microscopic worms inject a toxic poison into the pest’s body.
5: A GOOD OLD HOSE DOWN
There’s a lot to be said for having a hose (carefully) fired at you, especially during these heat waves we’re getting; But if you do notice some uninvited guests making themselves at home on your buds and stems, don’t underestimate the power of the spray for getting them off.
WORLD BEE DAY EVENT, 20th May 2018
Alexandra Palace Garden Centre Alexandra Palace Way London N22 7BB
Kicks off at 11am
For more events to fill up your summer checkout our website.